World: In Mali, the junta prohibits the activities of French NGOs

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against the backdrop of diplomatic tensions, Bamako intends to reply to the suspension of public development assistance (APD) decided by Paris at the end of October

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The French NGOs expected a response from the junta but they were far from imagining that the blow was as strong. To the point of being fatal? On November 21, the Malian government announced "prohibiting, with immediate effect, all the activities carried out by NGOs operating in Mali on funding or with the material or technical support of France, including in the humanitarian field".

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For Bamako, this measure is a replica to the suspension of Public Development Aid (APD) towards Mali decided by Paris at the end of October. The French decision - umpteenth episode of a process of diplomatic rupture with its ally yesterday engaged by the coming to power of the junta following the double coup of August 2020 and May 2021 - had not the subject of public communication from Paris.

, however, it had been confirmed by the French NGO collective South coordination, in a letter sent to Emmanuel Macron on November 15 and which had subsequently leaked on social networks. The signatories, 35 French organizations active in Mali, asked the French president to "review [his] position". According to them, this measure of suspension of development aid - estimated at around 100 million euros per year - jeopardizes "more than 70 projects" carried out in this poor country where "7.5 million people need 'Assistance ”, out of a population of some 20 million people.

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Paris "puzzle" had started to close the aid taps in February. While nearly a thousand mercenaries of the Russian private security group Wagner had just landed on Malian territory, Emmanuel Macron had decided to suspend all the French funding which transited by the Malian state.

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"We do not want our development aid to be diverted, financially, to finance Wagner, but also politically, so that the junt Development funded by French taxpayers, in order to credibility with the Malian population, ”specifies the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The purely humanitarian aid of France in Mali, around 10 million euros per year, was not affected by this suspension. But, in her response of November 21, the Malian junta decided to ban it too. "We take note and regret the decision of the Malian transitional authorities," the Quai d'Orsay said in a statement, the day after the junta's decision.

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Since then, the ministry has contacted the Malian authorities in order to better understand the contours of the application of this prohibition, which remain vague. "We are in total fog," said an employee of a French NGO installed in Bamako. Are our entire NGOs invited to bend baggage or this ban concerns only the projects funded by France? Many of us receive money from several countries. It's a headache, "he said, on condition of anonymity.

Faire Profile Low

Another unknown remains: will Malian and foreign NGOs receiving funding from Paris will also have to suspend their activities?

While waiting for details to be provided by the junta, most of the French NGOs located in Mali were invited by Paris to suspend their activities. Since then, they have made a low profile. All of them hope that the plea they intend to present soon before the Malian authorities will lead to a restoration of their activities in the country.

Mali: France suspends its development aid in a context of growing isolation by Bamako

The Quai d'Orsay, it seems much more pessimistic about the outcome of this crisis. According to our information, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly encouraged NGOs to repatriate their French workers by themselves, during a meeting held jointly in Paris and Bamako, on November 22. Their safety would no longer be guaranteed. However, the ministry did not order an evacuation of French humanitarian staff present in Mali - estimated at around forty people

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